Do you know who is called the Picasso of India? It’s none other than Maqbool Fida Husain.
He was born in 1915, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Husain became a prominent figure in Indian art by the 1940s. Most of his paintings are in favor of the modernist movement. In 2011, he passed away at the age of 95, but not before creating some of the excellent art paintings.
Here is a list of paintings from M.F. Husain, some of which fetched millions of dollars in auctions.
Battle of Ganga and Jamuna
This is one of the most prolific works of M.F. Husain. This painting was completed in the year 1971 and the canvas measures at almost 75x107inches. Subject of the painting is based on Hindu mythologies and is about the battle between right and wrong.
This oil on canvas painting has attracted many people towards it. You can say, the main features of this painting are the use of dark and bright colors, along with the modified cubist style of Husain. In 2008, this painting appeared at Christie’s auction and was sold for over INR9crore!
The Puppet Dancers
M.F. Husain’s love for the subject of toys is well-known. ‘The Puppet Dancers’ is yet another painting based on this theme. At a time when his art works did not cost millions, he used to work in a furniture company where he used to design toys. Although his stint as a toy designer was short, his love for toys lived on. In later years, this became evident in many of his paintings.
This oil on canvas painting has a woman, horse like figure, a dancer and one warrior. Set against a dark background, this painting is 31x51inches big. This painting appeared in the Sotheby’s auction and was sold for more than INR1.5crore.
The Horse that Looked Back
Like his affection for toys in his paintings, when it came to wild animals, usually the horse made it to the canvas. This could have been a result of his affection for religious stories when he was young. Every Indian mythological story represents horse as a heroic animal with full of energy and bravery.
There are many painting of M.F. Husain where horses steal the attention. ‘The horse that Looked Back’ is 48×21 inch oil on canvas painting where a white horse is represented in his usual style of delicate cubism. Recently, in an auction held at Sotheby’s, this painting was sold for over INR1.3crores.
This is yet another horse painting by the maestro, depicting three horses enjoying in the fields. The energy and power of these animals always amazed M.F. Husain and this is exactly what we seen in this painting. This is an oil on board painting, which measures at 24x48inches. In 2008, this painting was placed on auction at Christie’s and it fetched over INR1crore.
As you already know, most of Husain’s paintings come in series. Similarly, Husain has created a number of paintings with Mother Teresa as the theme. He was amazed what her presence could do to the troubled. This inspired him to do different paintings on the same subject.
The first one of this series came out in 1980 and others followed in frequent intervals. One of them even appeared in the Christie’s auction and was sold for more than INR1crore. This acrylic on canvas painting measures at 63x32inches and was completed in 1997.
Dancers under the Full Moon
Husain is also known for his representation of rural Indian traditions and cultures on the canvas. Although he followed a modernist style of painting, most his subjects were connected to Indian mythologies and culture. In this painting too, Husain illustrates a group of villagers dancing together, under a full-fledged moon in the far skies.
His usual cubist style of painting and the interesting choice of colors turn this painting into something special. The oil on canvas painting is 39x19inches long. This one also appeared in the Sotheby’s auction fetched more than INR1.5crore.
Tribute to Hashmi
Apart from the mythologies and traditional subjects, Husain created paintings that depict social issues and current happenings in the society. The painting ‘Tribute to Hashmi’ is one such painting. The painting is about the fatal attack on a theatre artist, Safdar Hashmi. This 10×5.5ft piece of art is an acrylic on canvas painting. In 2008, this painting was sold for INR 4.4crore, at an auction held at Kolkata.
‘Five Senses’ or ‘Cinq Sens’ is one of the most expensive paintings by Husain. In an auction held at Sotheby’s this painting was sold for around INR3.6crore. This oil on canvas painting, which was completed in the year 1958, has all the usual ingredients of a M.F. Husain painting. The use of dark and complementing colors, the cubist style of representation etc are all there in the painting. The painting measures at 60×60 inches.
The Sixth Seal
‘The Sixth Seal’ is another masterful painting by M.F. Husain. In 2011, this painting was sold for more than INR3.7crore at an auction held at Sotheby’s, London. In this piece of contemporary art, there is man, woman, animals and birds. However, the representation is a bit different and looks like some murals in the caves of Ajanta. Today, this 36x80inch big oil on canvas painting is a part of some private collection.
Woman with Spider
This is another cubist style painting by M.F. Husain, which remains one of his famous works. The painting shows a woman holding a spider in her hands, with care. Yet again, it is the cubist style and the colors used in the painting that creates a different viewing experience for any art enthusiast.
This oil on canvas painting is 51x51inch long and was painted in the year 1972. ‘Woman with Spider’ was sold for more than INR1 crore, at an auction at Sotheby’s.
These are only some of the many paintings by M.F. Husain. He is known to be a man who never put the brush down. Wherever he went, he was asked to draw and he loved to do it. Once, he went to a coffee shop to have a sip of coffee and he left the shop only after leaving a beautiful painting on the walls. Although there are some controversies surrounding his name, M.F. Husain remains a pride of Indian art world.
What do you like the most about his paintings? Which is your favorite M.F. Husain painting and Why? Share your thoughts in the comments.